The Forgotten Characters of Harry Potter
It goes without saying that movie adaptations of books are going to leave some things out. They may cut down on the dialogue, or take out a couple of scenes. Sometimes they even leave out entire characters. Sometimes, like in Game of Thrones, the characters are changed or conflated into others, still getting to the point but in a different way. Other times, like in Harry Potter, some characters are left out all together. I’ve compiled a list of the top ten characters forgotten about in Harry Potter. While some of them never show up in the movies, others may be mentioned or their storylines were taken out of the larger series, making them more background characters. Let’s pour one out for them.
Peeves the Poltergeist may be one of the biggest examples of this. While Peeves doesn’t really have a major function when it comes to plot, he adds to the overall atmosphere of Hogwarts; even though students have to watch out for his tricks and Filch spends the majority of his time trying to get him expelled, within the book universe there is no Hogwarts without Peeves. He is a silly, sometimes nasty troublemaker who, though he makes things difficult for the inhabitants of Hogwarts School, holds a fond place in everyone’s heart. I do understand why Peeves was left out of the movies, it would cost a lot to have him always around, and it’s entirely possible that they could have gotten Peeves wrong. So while I always cringe when my sister asks me who Peeves is, I try to understand that when adapting a story from book to movie, some things have to be cut and things that are extraneous to plot are the first to go.
2. Ludo Bagman
Ludovic Bagman is an ex-Quidditch player and head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports. When he turns up at the Quidditch World Cup in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, he seems to be a childish, vibrant, washed up Quidditch player who is more or less the exact opposite of Barty Crouch Sr. Throughout the book he cozies up to Harry in a weird way, often offering to assist him in the Triwizard Tournament (something that is illegal). We later learn that he is a gambler who bet goblins that Harry would win the tournament. He also ends up having some conflict with the Weasley twins who won a bet against him during the World Cup, but who he gave leprechaun gold, which disappears after a while. Ludo Bagman is an interesting character and I often find him to be similar to Gilderoy Lockhart in terms of their exploitation of people. While Lockhart takes credit for other witches’ and wizards’ work, Bagman uses gambling, and even cheats, in order to get his money. I do wish he wasn’t left out of Goblet of Fire, but in terms of cutting things down I’m willing to concede that he wasn’t completely necessary to the overall story. The reveal that he unintentionally gave a Death Eater Ministry information (through the Pensieve) was really interesting, and his interaction with both Harry and the Weasley twins were both interesting if not totally inappropriate given his age. He was very much a wizard who lives in the past, which was an interesting concept given the Triwizard Tournament—in which the champions fight to win eternal glory.
Winky is not only our second introduction to the house-elves, but is almost the polar opposite of Dobby. In Goblet of Fire, we get to see Winky go from being the house-elf of the Crouch family, to being fired, to becoming essentially an alcoholic with a job in the Hogwarts kitchens. She is the epitome of the “happy slave” in Goblet of Fire, happy to serve, and devastated when she is given her freedom. She also holds onto a lot of secrets for the Crouch family, ones that she continues to hold long after her “employment” for the family has come to an end. Now, I have an entire rant in me about the ways the house-elves were criminally underused in the movies, but I’ll save it for now. I will say, however, that Winky was an interesting character that gave us more insight into both the Wizarding World and the lives of the Crouches (and by extension, other wealthy pure-blood families). It’s unfortunate we didn’t get any of her story in the movie.
4. Charlie Weasley
WHERE ARE YOU CHARLIE? Charlie Weasley is the most elusive of the Weasley children. Working in Romania with dragons, Charlie is rarely home, though he did travel with his family to Egypt, come into town for the Quidditch World Cup, attend his brother Bill’s wedding, and I believe fought in the Battle of Hogwarts. In the movies, he is virtually non-existent. Charlie is in a whole other country, so it makes sense that he doesn’t turn up at lot in Harry’s seven years at Hogwarts, but in the books at least we get reminders that he’s around. Initially, Bill Weasley is just as absent, but he turns up in a big way in the last two books. Charlie more or less keeps to himself, though of course he’s always there for his family.
5. Lee Jordan
Lee Jordan, best friend of Fred and George Weasley. Lee is a character who is just as goofy as the twins, as is shown through them running around the castle wreaking havoc, but even more so through his Quidditch commentary. While the movies made Lee much younger than he was originally, and much more straightforward in the Quidditch announcements, the Lee Jordan of the books tended to add a bit more color. His own biases and thoughts hilariously bled into his commentary, often causing Professor McGonagall grief. I would have loved to see more of him in the movies, especially characterized the way he was in the books. Besides, he is second of the FOUR explicitly black characters attending Hogwarts with Harry, so I feel like he should have gotten more shine.
6. Marietta Edgecomb
Marietta Edgecomb is Cho Chang’s best friend, and a snitch. During Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, she joined Dumbledore’s Army reluctantly, as she didn’t want to get her or her mother into any trouble by going against Dolores Umbridge. However, she eventually told Umbridge about the secret group, getting Harry caught, and triggering a hex created by Hermione that wrote the words “SNEAK” on her face in huge pimples. Though Harry was able to get out of trouble through some quick thinking on Kingsley and Dumbledore’s part, Marietta still caused a lot of damage. In the movies, they take her out completely and have Cho be the snitch, though they have her cracking under Veritaserum (truth potion) rather than of her own volition. While this serves to turn Harry against Cho, in the books it’s a bit more complicated, a concept that the Order of the Phoenix movie doesn’t seem to have any grasp of whatsoever.
7. Ted and Andromeda Tonks
Ted and Andromeda are the parents of Nymphadora Tonks, Auror, metamorphmagus, member of the Order, and wife of Remus Lupin. Andromeda’s story is really interesting because she was born Andromeda Black, making her not only the cousin of Sirius, but the sister of both Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy. She was disowned by her family when she got married to Muggle-born Ted Tonks, a cardinal sin in the Black family. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows during the Battle of the Seven Potters, the Tonks house is the safehouse Hagrid and Harry go to before taking a portkey to the Burrow. Andromeda is said to look almost identical to Bellatrix, which feels like a loss to the movie because I would have loved to see Helena Bonham Carter play sweet, chill Andromeda while also playing cruel, lacking-all-chill Bellatrix. That’s a pretty selfish reason, but I will say that showing Ted Tonks having to go on the run because of the Muggle-born Registration Act would have been great, especially because at one point he travels with Dean Thomas before getting killed. RIP Ted Tonks. Also, Andromeda ends up raising Teddy Lupin, the son of Remus and Tonks. RIP Remus and Tonks. :(
Though Firenze shows up in the Sorcerer’s Stone movie, that’s the last time we see him. The centaurs do show up again in the Order of the Phoenix movie, though that time only as savage beasts running around in the forest rather than the intelligent, though sometimes frustratingly proud, creatures we see in the books. Again, the Order of the Phoenix movie does not understand nuance. Firenze is an interesting character because he is different from the other centaurs. While the centaurs are comfortable with Hagrid and are willing to assist humans sometimes, they are clear that they are no less than humans. While this is a wonderful and true sentiment, their idea of what “serving” a human looks like are not always rational. Firenze sees this, and while he is proud, he is willing to set aside that pride in order to help people in need. This shows up when he allows Harry to ride him to safety while in the Forbidden Forest, but also in Order of the Phoenix when he is hired as the new Divination teacher after Trelawney is sacked, an act that gets him banished from the Forbidden Forest. I have a lot of problems with the Order of the Phoenix movie, and I do think Firenze would have been a good addition to an adaptation that left so much out.
9. Angelina Johnson
Angelina Johnson is the third of the four explicitly black Hogwarts students that we see during Harry’s time there, and the only black girl (other than Hermione, who we now know is black). She is in the same year as Fred and George and is one of the three Gryffindor Chasers on the Quidditch team. In her final year at Hogwarts, she becomes Quidditch Captain and even wins Gryffindor the House Cup (with some help from our King, Ron Weasley). Though we see her in the background during the movies, and a bit in the Goblet of Fire movie (namely when Fred asks her to the Yule Ball), because the Order of the Phoenix movie took out Quidditch, it virtually took out her character. Angelina is an ambitious character, a good leader who takes her job as Quidditch Captain seriously. She even enters her name into the Goblet of Fire in her sixth year because she was of age. Later in life, Angelina marries George Weasley.
10. The Gaunts
The Gaunts are Voldemort’s ancestors on his Wizarding side (since we all know he’s half-blood despite trying to hide it). Merope Gaunt was an abused girl who used love potion on muggle Tom Riddle. The two married and ran away, though at some point Merope most likely stopped giving him the potion, causing him to runaway, leaving a heartbroken Merope, pregnant with who would one day become the greatest Dark Wizard of all time. While the movie adaptation of Half-Blood Prince does go back into Voldemort’s childhood, it doesn’t go all the way back to his mother and her family’s lives. Rather, it starts with a young Tom Riddle, Jr. in the orphanage and plays up the creepy and evil nature of him, rather than that of an ambitious but sometimes cruel boy with a tragic conception. While it is clear in the books that Voldemort was not a kind boy growing up, we do get some insight into his background, and the Gaunts are a huge part of that. They are also close descendants of Salazar Slytherin, and are inbred pure-bloods who value the blood over money. Later, Voldemort goes to his mother’s old home and kills his mother’s brother. He plants one of his horcruxes in the filthy place, clearly finding some connection to it. It would have been great to see some complication of Voldemort’s character through the Gaunts, though of course we know he’s too far gone at this point to feel any remorse and become human again.
There are a bunch of other forgotten characters in the Harry Potter books, a series that has a full world with different backstories and people. Obviously, the movies cannot show every single character, though these ten that I chose were ones that I thought would add to the movies in some way. Hopefully they'll be in the much-needed TV adaptation whenever that comes around.